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British Sandal Time: a beginner’s guide

Fashion is the art of wearing clothes before other people are wearing them. Like one of those card games where the skill is spotting when you need to slam, split-second timing is of the essence. The first person to wear a poloneck to the pub gets the fashion bragging rights; the last to swap out skinny jeans for wide legs loses.

Sandals and wide-legged trousers? Perfect for spring. Photograph: Whistles

So, concentrate. Because right here, right now is a key moment in the fashion calendar: it is, officially, British Sandal Time. No more tights, no more socks; just shoes and skin. No, I haven’t got news of a thrilling pre-Easter heatwave to share, but that’s not the point. We live by an ancient Bond Street proverb: “The clocks spring forward, and the toes come out.” If there is any logic in this, it is that British Summer Time probably means you leave the house in the light in the mornings, and are back on your front doorstep before it gets dark. But truly, this an act of faith, rather than a reaction to, the weather. In job interviews, they say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have, and the same goes for warm weather. We can make it happen, if we believe hard enough.

If you are truly fashion, your pedicure will already be done in readiness. The fluffy thing is just a front, you know – fashion people are secretly really nerdy about stuff like this. (Case in point: when Olivia Palermo, professional clothes horse, feels that the sleeves on an outfit look best casually pushed up to the elbow, she secures them with a thin hairband, as it gives a more pleasing ruched effect than rolling. I KNOW.)

Alexa Chung in dungarees, Birkenstock sandals and a Chanel necklace. Photograph: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

The high-diving board option is to go for, say, a wide-legged culotte with a bare, strappy sandal. But if you prefer to take things at a daintier pace, roll your jeans up an inch and ease into a pointed-toe slingback. Say hello to your ankles. Feel the – OK, not the sunshine, but let’s be optimistic and say the Vitamin D – on your skin. And if it is a tiny bit chilly, then grit your teeth and think of all the time you’ll save not pairing socks when you sort the laundry.

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